WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) today welcomed the peaceful conduct of the October 10 parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan.
The historic vote ushered in a new parliamentary system of government following the April 7 revolution there.
“Sunday’s elections can mark a new chapter in Kyrgyzstan’s democratic development, and I look forward to strengthening ties between Kyrgyzstan’s new parliament and the U.S. Congress,” said Chairman Cardin. “Many challenges remain, and we will support the new government as it works to address issues, such as corruption and lack of transparency, which brought down the previous regime. As vice president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I am hopeful this new parliamentary system will succeed for the people of Kyrgyzstan and provide OSCE participating States another strong model of how countries can fully implement their commitments to democracy.”
Co-Chairman Hastings urged that the new government also develop a reconciliation process to address tensions remaining in the south following ethnic violence there in June. “I urge the new government to ensure that minorities, including ethnic Uzbeks, are represented and included in the new system,” he said.
In a generally positive assessment, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe found that the elections marked a “consolidation of the democratic process and brought the country closer to meeting its international commitments on democratic elections.” Nevertheless, OSCE observers noted election day problems, inclduing the presence of unauthorized persons in some polling stations and irregular counting procedures. Some observers raised questions about the high number of voters added to lists on election day in the southern part of the country, as well as whether the invisible ink functioned properly to prevent multiple voting.